This paper explores the topic of female subordination to males within the social context. The writer of the essay "The Universal Subordination Of Women To Men"
suggests that the level of subordination or lack of it can be attributed to religious and kinship systems that prevail in a society. …
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Female subordination is universal in that it transcends every type of social and economic arrangement in societies of every degree of complexity. Ortner argues that the cultural logic behind the assumption of female inferiority is so highly persuasive that people inevitably subscribe to it. For example, in China, the ideology of Taoism equates both yin (the female principle) and yang (the male principle). The opposition or the interaction and alteration of these two forces influence all the phenomena in the universe. Based on this principle, one would assume that males and females are universally valued in the ideology of Chinese culture. However, looking at the social structure, one observes the strongly emphasized patrilineal descent principle, advocating the importance of sons and the absolute authority of fathers in the family. Thus, we can conclude that China is the archetypical patriarchal society (Ortner, 1974, P.69).
Considering the actual roles played, power and influence wielded, and the material contributions made by women in Chinese society, which are a one would observe that women are allotted a high status in the system. For instance, the goddess Kuan Yin is the prominent deity, in terms of worship and depiction, in Chinese Buddhism. Thus, in reference to goddess-worshiping in China, like most prehistoric and early historical societies, is a form of matriarchy.
Ortner asserts that in her investigation of cultures, she found women to be subordinate to men in every known society. For example, among the matrilineal Crow society, women had highly honorific offices in the Sun Dance. They could become directors of the Tobacco Ceremony and played a more conspicuous part in it than men. They could sometimes play hostess in the Cooked Meet Festival, and were not
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